An ambitious project to breathe new life into Folkestone town centre has been awarded a £19.8 million share of the government’s levelling up funding.
Council leader, Cllr David Monk said: “I am delighted that the Folkestone & Hythe bid has been approved for funding. We have an exciting and ambitious scheme to bring forward and I am over the moon that this has been acknowledged by central government.
“Our plan – A Brighter Future – will breathe new life into Folkestone and radically improve the complicated road network, making it much easier for residents and visitors to access the town centre.
“We are ready to go and we look forward to getting on with this project.”
To support the bid for government funding the council commissioned a video to showcase the wealth of opportunities that the district offers.
The money will enable a sustainable, attractive and welcoming gateway to be created for Folkestone town centre with a green park replacing the bus station in Bouverie Square.
The exciting and ambitious project will see Shellons Street become two-way with bus stops and bays replacing the bus station. Better signage and obvious walking links will connect visitors to a greener, more vibrant Sandgate Road and Guildhall Street shopping area.
The funding will also enable the second phase of Folca to be progressed by establishing new uses for the site, with an intended focus on public services, retail, leisure and business uses for the rejuvenated building.
The council has to move quickly with partners, including Stagecoach, Kent Highways and Kent County Council, as the funding has to be spent by the end of March 2025.
The bid was submitted in early July and followed extensive public consultation earlier in the year on possible projects to deliver the priorities set out in the Folkestone Place Plan.
It was agreed that the focus would be on three projects for the Levelling Up Fund bid and the council will continue to work with partners on the other projects and seek further funding opportunities.
Find out more about the Place Plan on the council website.
The image is an artist’s drawing by Place Plan consultants, We Made That.